Guiding Eyes for the Blind Logo Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides guide dogs to people with vision loss. We are passionate about connecting exceptional dogs with individuals for greater independence. Donate Now button
Text Size: A A A
Colors/Contrast:
ABC ABC ABC Other

Support We Provide

Guiding Eyes is committed to supporting you as you care for one of our breeding dogs, providing each foster with:

  • Training in obedience and dog handling prior to getting the dog.
  • Quarterly assessments.
  • Follow-up meetings for training or other support as needed.
  • Veterinary care, including vaccinations and preventive medications, routine care, and emergency care.
  • Sitter network when you are traveling and can’t bring your dog with you.

Training

Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or just starting out, we’re here to help you understand your dog’s behavior, care for your dog, and have a great time doing it!

Our Brood Stud Manager and the Guiding Eyes for the Blind staff will teach and guide you through every step.

We host weekly lessons in training and healthcare. On average, a new foster attends 3 to 4 lessons before taking the dog home.

The Brood Stud Program Manager is always available by phone or e-mail for questions, problems, or concerns the foster may have. If problems arise that necessitate closer follow-up and support, the foster will be scheduled to come to the CDC for extra help.

Quarterly Assessments

Once every three months, the foster volunteer schedules an assessment meeting with the Brood Stud Program Manager at the CDC in Patterson, NY. During this meeting, the staff will:

  • Assess the dog’s fitness.
  • Address any issues with behavior.
  • Assess behavior of the dog on leash around distractions.
  • Monitor grooming, nail cutting, ear care, and dental care.
  • Confirm the presence of proper identification tags on the collar.

Veterinary Care

Guiding Eyes has a dedicated veterinary team that supports all dogs in the Brood Stud Program. Foster volunteers do not have to pay for any pre-authorized veterinary care for their dogs. This veterinary care is provided at Guiding Eyes in New York or, if necessary, your dog may be referred to a veterinary specialist.

Help During Business Hours

Guiding Eyes veterinary staff is available by phone or e-mail to answer questions and give advice to foster volunteers. We are not always able to answer the phone but will call you back as soon as possible. When calling, please leave a message indicating the urgency of the call and a telephone number, either home or cell, where you can be reached. Please do not arrive at the CDC without an appointment, as we may not be able to see you in a timely manner.

Fosters must identify a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic close to their residence in case of a life-threatening emergency.

Health Care Portal

The Health Care section is available to foster volunteers who are registered volunteers on the website. You will not see this section unless your registration has been authorized by Guiding Eyes staff and you have logged in.

Sitter Network and Traveling with Your Dog

You are allowed to take your breeder dog on vacation with you if the dog is not needed by Guiding Eyes during the period you are gone.

If you have a stud dog, inquire with the Brood Stud Manager 10 days before, and re-confirm two days before, your departure that the dog will not be needed while you are gone. If the dog will be needed, he may stay with us for the duration of your trip. If you have a brood dog that comes into heat while you are on vacation, you will be expected to promptly transport her to the Breeding Kennel.

When you must travel but cannot bring your dog with you, you are responsible for using our sitter network to locate an approved sitter. Breeding dogs should not be boarded at the Breeding Kennel except in cases of family emergencies.

The sitter network comprises foster families that have agreed to sit dogs in their homes. The dogs get the same quality care and training that they receive at home, and they are not exposed to viruses and pathogens from outside kennels. Periodically, the Brood Stud department distributes a list of approved sitters and contact information to the foster volunteers.

It is vital to plan and arrange for a sitter well in advance of vacations and trips, especially during peak travel periods, summers, and holidays.

If the sitter has another dog in the home, it is prudent to arrange a play date before the planned sit. It allows the sitter to make sure your dog will be a good houseguest while you are away, and that the dogs are compatible.

Out-Of-Network Sitters

It is acceptable to use a sitter not in the network only if they have been educated in the care and safekeeping of our broods and studs.

The sitter must:

  • Be familiar with proper leash walking, feeding, and safety.
  • Be prepared to transport the dog to the CDC, should the need arise, for breeding, heat cycles, or vet appointments.
  • Not have another dog in the home that is unhealthy, not fully vaccinated, or unable to interact appropriately with the breeding dog.

You should provide any sitter with:

  • The dog’s food, leash, and any special toys.
  • Any necessary medications.
  • Any other equipment the sitter may need.
  • The procedure for obtaining medical care if needed.
  • All necessary contact information regarding emergencies, health issues, or a lost dog.
  • Transportation to the sitter and drop-off and pick-up times that are mutually agreed upon.

Guiding Eyes Sitter Notification

You must e-mail the Brood Stud Program with complete information prior to taking the dog to the sitter, including the name, location, and contact information for the sitter and the dates that your dog will be with the sitter.

Additional Information

Please feel free to contact mlazzaro@guidingeyes.org if you have any other questions about fostering one of our breeding dogs.

About The Kennels

Our Breeding Kennel and Whelping Kennel are staffed 365 days per year, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m. After 4 p.m. our staff is reduced, but we are still able to admit/discharge dogs up until 6:30 p.m.

If we’re busy with a dog, it might not be possible for us to answer the phone, but leave a message and we’ll call you back within an hour during the working day. Outside working hours, calls are not monitored. If you have a medical emergency, please contact our emergency vet. For after hours EMERGENCIES only, please call our main number (914-245-4024) or our 800 number (800-942-0149) and follow the prompt for emergency service.

Please notify the appropriate kennel if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late for an appointment. There is preparation time needed on both admits and discharges, and keeping scheduled appointments will allow us to minimize wait times. Please do not arrive with your dog without an appointment or speaking with someone first. This will allow the kennel to be prepared for your dog’s arrival.

You should bring your dog’s head collar, and Frontline and Heartgard if staying through the first of the month. Do not bring beds and toys because the kennels have their own supply. Remember to take your leash with you once the dog is admitted.

Transport

On average, a stud will make about 30 trips per year, and a brood about 15, to Guiding Eyes facilities in either Patterson or Yorktown Heights, NY.

Guiding Eyes will attempt to give the stud foster 2 to 3 days notice, but in some cases a trip the same day as notification will be required. You are responsible for transporting your dog. Please contact us if you foresee any issues or problems.

Eye Clinic and Medical Support

All breeding dogs must visit the annual Eye Clinic (continuing even after retirement), attend quarterly assessments, and go to either Patterson or Yorktown Heights Guiding Eyes facilities as needed during the workweek (daytime hours) for medical care and any training or support.

Safety

When outside, Guiding Eyes breeding dogs must always be on leash or in a secure fenced area, and always monitored by a responsible adult. To avoid temperature-related injury, you should walk the dog in the early morning or evening during hot days, and mid-day when it is very cold.

Health and Condition

It is critical that you should maintain your breeding dog in peak condition, for both the health of the dog and the success of breeding.

Just as in people, proper conditioning is a daily process and not something that can be ignored and then caught-up with on an urgent basis. The ability of the brood to deliver puppies quickly and with fewer complications is directly related to her physical condition and stamina.

Similarly, studs must be well-conditioned to have the stamina for successful breeding. Dogs that have been kept in peak condition will have:

  • Increased stamina and stronger abdominal muscles, thus reducing or preventing stillborn puppies or the need for a C-section delivery during whelping.
  • Greater longevity and quality of health by reducing or preventing debilitating joint disease.
  • Easier weight maintenance due to more muscle mass.
  • A happier and more energetic outlook.

Proper condition can be attained and maintained through exercise and weight management.

Exercise

Dogs are required to have a minimum of 21 miles per week (3 miles/day) of walking or running on leash. Optimum exercise is 35 miles per week (5 miles per day).

Please make sure that you don’t put your dog at risk of heat exhaustion (heat stroke) − a potentially fatal condition − by exercising in very hot weather.

Weight Management

Fosters must maintain the dogs at the Guiding Eyes-determined target weight. Dogs that are more than 5 pounds overweight may have to be returned for re-homing until the dog’s weight is corrected. If the foster cannot properly maintain the dog’s weight, permanent re-homing will be required.

When you get your dog, you will be instructed on the frequency of feeding and quantity of food necessary to keep the dog at its target weight. Measure the food accurately and do not “round up” portions. Be aware of how many treats you are giving your dog – they can really add up.

Weigh your dog every 2 weeks. You may use our scale at Guiding Eyes anytime. Please notify the Brood Stud Coordinator if you think the dog’s weight is either increasing or decreasing.

Re-homing

If the foster relocates outside the required maximum distance from the Canine Development Center, or is unable to meet the requirements of the Foster Program as outlined in the foster agreement, Guiding Eyes will take back the breeder and place it with another foster.